Strain vs. Sprain- What is the Difference?

Strains and sprains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can develop from a variety of everyday activities. Although these injuries can be similar, they involve different types of soft tissue in the body.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon that has been overstretched or torn. A tendon is a tough cord of fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. A strain can develop over time from repetitive use of a muscle or can develop acutely from a sudden overstretching of a muscle.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament that has been overstretched or torn. A ligament is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones in your joints. The ankles and knees are common area of sprains due to abrupt pivoting and twisting motions.

Physical Therapists treat sprains and strains with exercise, manual treatment, and modalities. If you would like to learn more about your injury, contact Harbor Physical Therapy at 443-524-0442.

Written by Dr. David Reymann

COVID-19’s Got You Inside?

As we are advised to stay home to avoid the spread of the virus, that doesn’t mean that we should stop exercising! There are many exercises you can do from the comfort of your home to increase your strength and endurance. Here are a few exercises below:

  1. Standing Marches: While standing, lift your knee in the air so that it is even with your hip. Return to the floor. Perform on the other side. Repeat for 2 minutes.

  1. Heel Raises: While standing, push through your toes to lift your heels into the air. Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly return your heels to the floor. Repeat 20 times.

  1. Sit-to-stands: While seated in a stable chair, cross your arms across your body and stand up. Slowly return to a seated position. Repeat 20 times.

  1. Plank: Lay down with your stomach on the floor and place on your body weight on your forearms.  Push up on your forearms and bear weight through your feet, while maintaining a straight line between your shoulders, hips, and feet, hold this position for 1 minute.

As you become more comfortable with each exercise, you can begin challenging yourself to perform each exercise for longer or for more repetitions. If you begin exercising and find that you have pain or feel unsteady, we would love to work with you at Harbor Physical Therapy! Call us at 443-524-0442 to set up an evaluation today.

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith

Three Exercises to Decrease Back Stiffness

Stiffness and pain in the middle and upper back is a common issue seen by physical therapists. There can be multiple causes of this including postural deficits, decreased strength, increased muscular tightness, and decreased mobility in the thoracic spine. There are many different exercises that can help to directly address these deficits. Here are a few that you can try at home.

1. Side-Lying Book Openers

Lie on your side with your knees bent. Keep your hips still while rotating your upper body. Follow your hand with your head. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on each side.

2. Cat-Camel

While on your hands and knees, sink your back toward the floor and lift your head up. Next, tuck your head in while arching your back up. Hold for 10 seconds in each direction and repeat 10 times.

3. Child’s Pose Stretch

Sit back on your heels while reaching your hands as far out in front of you as possible. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.

 

Written by: Dr. David Reymann

Tips for Exercising in the Heat

As the COVID-19 outbreak and the summer heat, humidity, and thunderstorms continue, you may feel less motivated to get outside and exercise. Here are a few tips to get you motivated for exercising in the summer:

1. Exercise early in the day or later in the evening to beat the heat and avoid crowds.
2. Bring water with you.
3. Take breaks when you feel tired.
4. Wear supportive shoes.
5. Wear light and moisture-wicking clothing.

What if I am having pain with exercising?

Stop the exercise! The next time you work out, try that exercise again to see if it causes you pain. If it does, stop the exercise again. On the third trial, if the pain has not gone away, it is time to get that pain checked out.

Harbor Physical Therapy is here to help! You can schedule an appointment directly with us. We will analyze your movement patterns and help to address areas of weakness and tightness to get you back on your feet in no time. Happy exercising!!

Written by:
Dr. Chloe Smith and Dr. David Reymann

COVID-19- What is an In-Office Physical Therapy Session Like Now?

Harbor Physical Therapy has returned to providing in-office physical therapy sessions with new health precautions in place due to COVID-19. When you arrive, you will be asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions and your temperature will be taken by a staff member.  Our office waiting room has chairs placed >6 feet apart and we ask you come alone to your appointment to limit people in the facility. Every person in the office is required to wear a face mask at all times.

 When it is time for your appointment, your therapist will call you back to the gym and will ask you to wash your hands before the session begins. During your session, you will work with your therapist exclusively on one side of our large gym.  All pieces of equipment used during your session will be thoroughly cleaned immediately after usage.

 We understand that performing physical therapy while wearing a mask may be difficult or uncomfortable at times. If you find yourself out of breath or more tired than usual during your PT session, please request to have a break before continuing on with your exercises.  We have closed door treatment rooms where you can take a break. Your health and safety is our top priority. We appreciate your patience and your presence during this uncertain time. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you may have.  We look forward to seeing you at Harbor Physical Therapy!

Written by: Dr. Chloe Smith

COVID-19- Nutrition Tips

Similar to when we gain the “Freshman 15”, we are now having new experiences that can potentially lead to gaining the “COVID-19” Whether sheltering in place or providing care as an essential employee, this unique situation filled with stress and anxiety lends itself to developing unhealthy behaviors. Below are some steps you can take to help maintain both your physical and mental health.

Create Structure— when staying at home, it is easy to graze throughout the day instead of eating set meals and snacks. It is important to set a mealtime schedule and stick to it. This may be a good time to take advantage of not having afterschool activities and other errands– plan a nutritious dinner and reconnect as a family around the table. Just as important as your meals, plan out your snacks as well and make sure to practice good portion control.

Stock your Pantry and Fridge Strategically— it is important to keep items on hand so that you can prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family. Stock your pantry with non- perishables such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice or ancient grains, canned beans, canned tuna packed in water, whole grain cereal and crackers, tomato sauce, popcorn kernels, and fruit cups packed in juice. Try to limit chips and cookies to just one variety to help avoid overeating empty calories. Load up your fridge and freezer with eggs, low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, frozen vegetables, frozen fish/chicken/lean ground turkey, and frozen waffles/pancakes. Keep fresh pro- duce on hand that does not spoil quickly such as apples, oranges, green bananas, baby carrots, celery and potatoes.

Allow One Treat Each Day— it’s great to have something to look forward to without over- indulging. Leave the container and take out a single portion so you are not tempted to eat more. This is also a great time to get your kids in the kitchen so they can help bake cookies, frost cup- cakes, etc. Consider baking from scratch so you can substitute some healthier ingredients.

Maintain Hydration— thirst can easily be confused with hunger, especially when we are looking to snack out of boredom. Most adults require around 2L or 68 ounces of fluids each day, and it is recommended to choose mostly calorie-free options. Remember that your morning coffee or soup for lunch contribute to your overall fluid intake. Consider saving a one or two liter bottle and refilling it with your calorie-free beverage of choice to help track your daily intake.

Written by: Julie Tasher, RD

So you Started Walking More……

In these unprecedented times, many people are turning to walking outside to relieve stress, spend some time outdoors, and maybe even to walk off a couple extra pounds they’ve gained while staying home. Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, boost your mood, and increase your endurance. It is a low-impact activity, so it is gentle on your joints. However, a sudden increase in repetitive physical activity can lead to the development of pain or injury. As you spend more time being active throughout your day, make sure you slowly build up your mileage/the time in which you are walking each day to prevent overuse injuries. If you are not used to walking for long periods of time, start with 10 minutes a day and slowly increase the amount of time you are walking until you reach your desired length (30 minutes per day is a great goal). You can even break up your walking into shorter, more frequent walks throughout the day to limit fatigue. As you walk, it is important that you wear supportive shoes to prevent the development of pain from poor alignment or poor body mechanics. If you have recently developed pain from an increase in exercise, have questions about the proper footwear for your body part, or are interested in learning more about other exercises you can do as you stay home, please contact our office to schedule a physical therapy evaluation today!

Written by; Dr. Chloe Smith

Tips to Decrease Your Fall Risk at Home

As everyone is stuck inside more often these days, it is important to take a look at your home environment to decrease your risk of having a fall. Falls in the elderly population can lead to serious injury and should be avoided at all cost. Multiple factors place a person at an increased risk for falls. These factors include advanced age, poor vision, muscle weakness, poor balance, fear of falling, and home and environmental hazards. There are many steps that you can take to prevent falls. Here are just a few:

  1. Keep rooms in your home free of clutter to prevent tripping.
  2. Walk in shoes that have a good grip. Avoid wearing socks to decrease your risk of slipping.
  3. Keep your home well-lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.
  4. Make sure that all rugs in the home, as well as the bathtub and shower floor are nonslip.
  5. Stay active to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.

If you have a history of falls, are fearful of falling, or feel that you have problems with walking, balance, or decreased strength, a telehealth appointment with one of our physical therapists may be right for you. This will allow the therapist to identify possible hazards in your home in addition to providing you with appropriate strength and balance exercises.

Written by Dr. David Reymann

Physical Therapy: Fact vs. Fiction

There are some common misconceptions out there about physical therapy. This list was created to help clear some of those up!

  1. I need a referral from a doctor before I can see a PT. FALSE

Because of direct access in the state of MD, you are able to schedule an appointment with a PT without a referral from your PCP.

  1. Any medical professional can perform PT. FALSE

Physical therapy services must be provided by a licensed physical therapist.

  1. Physical therapy is the same thing as massage therapy. FALSE

If you have been to PT before, you may have had some massage incorporated as part of your treatment. This is only one tool that some therapists may incorporate into your treatment. PTs are trained as movement experts and are focused on improving function. A lot of PT is exercised based and may incorporate strength training or balance training for example.

  1. PT is only for injuries. FALSE

PTs are trained to treat a myriad of different conditions and many PTs go on to specialize in specific fields. A few different areas that PTs can work in include pediatrics, geriatrics, sports rehab, chronic pain, vestibular, orthopedics, neurological, and cardiopulmonary to name a few.

  1. Surgery is my only option. FALSE

There are many studies that show that physical therapy can be as effective or more effective than surgery in many cases. Trying physical therapy first is a safe and smart approach to treatment for several different conditions.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann